Master's Theses

Date of Award

Summer 1964

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




W. Clement Wood


The purpose of this study was (1) to determine the procedures employed in identifying intellectually gifted children attending the elementary Catholic schools of the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas; (2) to determine the type or types of programs maintained in these selected schools for the instruction of the intellectually gifted; and (3) to suggest recommendations and possible approaches that might improve the quality of education which intellectually gifted children are now receiving in these schools. The basic data for this research was collected by means of questionnaires which were sent to each of the principals of the fifty-four Catholic elementary schools located within the confines of the Diocese of Wichita in Kansas. A total of fifty-two replies, a response of 96 per cent was received. Current literature dealing particularly with the identification and instruction of the intellectually gifted children found in the Forsyth Library of Fort Hays Kansas State College and the library of the University of Oregon were reviewed and studied. Replies to the questionnaire, which was divided into two main divisions: identification and organization for instruction of intellectually gifted children, revealed the following: thirty-five or 67.3 percent of the reporting principals indicated that their schools used some type or types of identification procedure. Seven or 20 percent of the schools reporting identified their intellectually gifted students in grades one and two; thirteen or 37.1 percent of the schools identified them in grades three to eight; five schools or 14.3 percent located gifted students in all eight grades; one school or 2.9 percent identified its students when ability was evident; and nine or 25.7 percent of the reporting schools did not specify when they identified their intellectually gifted. In the process of identifying or locating the intellectually gifted students these schools employed three major methods: standardized procedures, systematic observational methods, and school record procedures. Specifically these included (1) teacher’s judgment based upon student’s language usage, physical growth, mental and social attitudes, keen interest in a variety of things, appreciation of art and music, leadership abilities, and general observation; (2) parental observation; (3) compositions or autobiographies; (4) early expression of career choice; (5) participation in extra-curricular activities; (6) group intelligence tests; (7) individual intelligence tests, and (8) special aptitude tests. In thirty-two or 59.3 percent of the total number of Wichita elementary Catholic schools there is some type of enrichment program being offered to the intellectually gifted. Five schools or 15.6 percent of those responding utilize three common methods of instruction: enrichment, segregation, and acceleration. Nineteen schools or 59.4 percent make use of both enrichment in the regular classroom and special grouping; and eight or 25 percent provide the most widely used technique for encouraging the intellectually gifted student; namely, classroom enrichment. The survey reveals that of the fifty-two schools who responded to the questionnaire, twenty do not have, or either did not specify having instructional programs for the intellectually gifted. The factors most significant under enrichment included: (1) Library skills, (2) creative expression in music, art, written, and oral composition, (3) independent reading of the classics, (4) SRA or similar laboratories, (5) experimental projects, (6) free-directed reading, and (7) class reports. The least used included: (1) tape learning, (2) foreign language, (3) field trips, (4) previewing films or filmstrips, (5) utilizing community’s resource personnel, (6) Civics Clubs, and (7) using community resources. The items or activities mentioned most frequently under selective or special grouping were: (1) grouping in special interest areas of mathematics, science, and literature, and (2) grouping in one grade according to ability. Grouping in special talent areas of music, art, science, reading, and typing, and the ungraded primary system were also used, but less frequently. Related to the total picture regarding school programs for the gifted, acceleration is not significant. The practices mentioned as having some credence were (1) combining two years in one, (2) extra courses, (3) extra research, and (4) extra progress through the ungraded system. Early school entrance and double promotion were not regarded as significant by any school. The two basic programs of the schools in the Wichita Diocese are enrichment and grouping. For the most part, principals and staffs share the responsibility of the gifted programs in the schools. In thirty-nine of the fifty-two schools who returned the questionnaire, the teacher was the instructor of the intellectually gifted child. There is some attempt made to provide aid to teachers in identifying and instructing the intellectually gifted students through planned faculty meetings. Of the forty principals who indicated whether or not they conducted such meetings, thirteen or 32.5 percent of them said that they did, and twenty-seven school representatives or 67.5 percent stipulated that they did not. Follow-up programs for the intellectually gifted are few with only eight or 20 percent of those who answered the inquiry conducting such a program consisting of (1) cumulative and permanent records, (2) achievement tests, (3) cooperative parent-teacher conferences, and (4) extensive projected in reading and science. The findings of this study indicated that the elementary schools of the Wichita Diocese are providing much for the intellectually gifted, but that much more must be provided if the great potentials of the gifted are to be realized in the years ahead.


Copyright 1964 Sister M. Francis Rita Bernard


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